Foul play at Doctors Pond in Great Dunmow, Essex

PUBLISHED: 11:44 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 07:26 30 May 2010

TAKEAWAY meals may have stooped to a new low in Dunmow as fears rise over ducks being poached from the Doctors Pond. A dramatic drop in numbers has led to suspicions of foul play at the town s historical water feature. Following the departure of around

TAKEAWAY meals may have stooped to a new low in Dunmow as fears rise over ducks being "poached" from the Doctors Pond.

A dramatic drop in numbers has led to suspicions of foul play at the town's historical water feature.

Following the departure of around 150 ducks, town and district councillor, Michael Miller, fears the worst.

He said: "In 25 years of living in Dunmow, overlooking over the pond, I have never seen the numbers get so low. I have been in touch with the RSPB and they have informed me that it is a growing problem around the country and that it is possible that they have been taken by the public.

"My personal opinion is that they seem to have been poached."

Cllr Miller said that feathers have been seen strewn across the pond's surface and although birds do shed their coats around this time, it is the smaller 'under-feathers' that are causing the most concern.

He added: "Ducks shed their top feathers but not usually the smaller ones underneath; it could be that people are catching and gutting them before taking them home. If you think about it makes sense - if you had a flat where would you hide the feathers."

However, Dunmow's deputy town clerk, David Green, who is the officer responsible for looking after areas of wildlife in the town, has poured cold water on the idea that ducks could be taking home for dinner.

He said: "They are wild birds, so they will come and they will go. One possible explanation is that they have been intimidated by the geese, which seem to have grown in numbers over the past few seasons."

WHAT do you think? E-mail us at editor@dunmow-broadcast.co.uk or write to us at 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1EE.

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